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NASA: A political mirage
By Ambei Milimu | Updated Feb 19, 2017 at 08:04 EAT
The polls are fast approaching. In between now and the 8th of August, Kenyans expect life to be anything but boring.
 Allegiances are shifting, betrayal being served by the spadeful and promises being made by the second. Sworn enemies are re-establishing friendship, emissaries being and perceived non-committal people coming out as dedicated disciples of unclear causes. In all these, however, a constant has been maintained. The 2017 presidential race is turning out to be a two-horse race between NASA and the ruling Jubilee party. And therein lies the problem. The overwhelming opinion by all those that find fault in the Jubilee administration seems to be that NASA shall upon assuming power magically sought out those issues. I disagree on two fronts. First is the lack of ideological clarity in NASA. Apart from a populist streak that has allowed them to remain relevant since 2013, the leaders in NASA have not in any meaningful manner articulated what should be expected of their administration should they rule.

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With the exception of Raila who sometimes is ambivalent and whose grand dreams are constantly anchored down by unfortunate realities, none of the prominent leaders in the coalition have a publicly relatable political stand. Simply put, if you made Musalia, Kalonzo, and Wetangula stand and asked a common citizen to describe their political belief, it is my guess most will stare at you with blank expressions. Not because they are ignorant, but because there is nothing worth noting about their political belief and practice. Declaring you hate corruption is not enough. Jubilee has equally declared so but spectacularly failed.There is need to hear what they have to say about the budget. How do they plan to reduce the budget deficit and consequently minimize public debt? What is their stand on the salaries of our outwardly insensitive political leaders? Have MPs and MCAs from the NASA formation demonstrated the willingness to fight greed by political leaders, they themselves included? What do they plan to do to reduce the wage bill? From which sector will money be taken and to which shall it be added? Do they believe that the private sector is the driver of the economy or are they for increased government control? What about the environment? And social welfare? And the size of government? What measures are they willing to effect to ensure inclusivity and greater representation of women in leadership without necessarily infringing upon the public's right to choice of leadership? What is their specific intention as to the resolution of historical injustices with a particular bias to land? Are they willing to reposes irregularly acquired land and redistribute it? How will they do that? The lack of clear and accessible answers to these questions means that by trusting NASA with leadership we are gifting them a blank Cheque that would allow them to do however they please including worsening the situation in Kenya.Given revolution's habit of eating its own children, this thought is not far-fetched. NASA reacting and countering Jubilee missteps does not make it an alternative government. Second is that none of the faces in NASA seems to be in a position to effect the kind of radical change required by Kenyans should they ascend to power. Even the perceived revolutionaries have since shed their revolutionary skins. I have watched with frustration Orengo, a lawyer, senator and one of the famed bearded sisters, stand before a court of law to defend Mr. Oparanya, a governor, on a matter of misappropriation of public funds in Kakamega County. We have watched collectively as Kalonzo accepted a VP position from a regime that out rightly insulted Kenyans' ability to choose their own leaders. He went on to engage in the famous "shuttle diplomacy" in defence of Kenyans accused of crimes against humanity by the ICC. We have been witnesses of Musalia going against a wave of positive change in 2002 and Wetangula agree to be a Foreign Affairs Minister at a time real leaders needed to stand for the truth. One way or another, a good number of characters in NASA have been beneficiaries of the sick system they seek to overhaul. They owe favours and remain beholden to certain power networks and brokers. They have also at some point in their political careers been linked heavily to corrupt practices leading to sanctions and disciplinary action against them. NASA provides a possible platform upon which change in Kenya maybe built and confidence in the electoral process restored. But I highly doubt their ability to deliver real change. For Kenya to achieve real change, there must be a total break from its past, the NASA leadership included. Politics of dynasty must be decommissioned and political structures as they exist completely deconstructed. The entrenched ethnopolitical engineering must also be rendered obsolete. This process won't be initiated by NASA but by the common mwananchi fed up with the state of affairs. That moment, when it comes, must be spontaneous and owned by the masses. Otherwise it maybe just in Michela Wrong's words, their turn to eat. A swing of a seesaw, just a moment before it swings back the other way.

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